Advanced evasion techniques (AETs) have developed quite a reputation in the information security sector, given their ability to disguise advanced persistent threats (APTs) and stealthily siphon out data. Although AETs have been active security threats for quite some time, several misconceptions remain. In an effort to dig deeper into how these threats are passing through network security undetected, we sat down with four industry experts who shed light on the issue. With the insights of these security experts, we’ve developed a detailed visual report discussing how AETs threaten security and what we can anticipate for the future of cyber attacks.
AETS are delivery mechanisms used to disguise advanced persistent threats (APTs) and permit them to slip through network security undetected. By dividing malicious payloads into smaller pieces and disguising them, AETs deliver APTs simultaneously across multiple protocols. Once inside the network, AETs reassemble to unleash malware and continue an internal APT attack. AETs are underestimated and virtually undetectable cyber threats, able to create millions of “new” evasion techniques after entering a network, thanks to their shape-shifting capabilities.
Why AETs are a growing concern
We asked our expert panel whether or not they considered AETs as a growing threat to online security. Due to their increasing sophistication and the multitude of tools available for their creation, all signs point to yes.
According to the Head of Information Research Group at Glamorgan University Andrew Blyth, “[The concern] is growing in that more people now have access to advanced evasion techniques. Thanks to the Internet, it is much easier for someone wanting to deploy an evasion technique to get a hold of an AET and use it even if they’re relatively inexperienced.”
Technology is not enough
According to our pool of experts, technology will mitigate AET threats, but will not be able to solve the issue on its own. Lawrence Pingree, a Research Director at Gartner, claimed that “although numerous configuration options exist in security products, many are not tuned by default for the most advanced protection against attackers.”
Marco Cremonini, an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Milan finds the threat of AETs to be a three-sided problem: “Measurement, risk management, and technology all need to be part of the response. Branded security solutions might address the technology, but without the other two, they can at best provide a measure of mitigation.”
Why experts are optimistic
While attackers and defenders continue to be neck-and-neck in the arms race of online security, our panelists expressed an optimistic outlook on the future of AET protection. Kamal Hennou, Professor of Network Security at ESGI Security, states, “I believe we will see next-generation firewalls evolve quickly to meet the needs of large companies…so whether security evolves faster depends on the degree to which large companies perceive the AET threat.” Likewise, Marco Cremonini believes that “IT security will evolve faster” than attacker tactics moving forward.
For more expert insights on “What’s Next” for Advanced Evasion Techniques, check out our full report.